The public will have to wait a little longer to find out if the restrictions on water use will be lifted or extended, according to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).
In an effort to ease the impact of drought, the BWA issued a prohibition notice in June with Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams warning of a fine of $500 or imprisonment for failure to comply with the measures outlined in the notice.
The restrictions were to run until August with the provision to extend them if necessary.
And today, General manager of the Barbados Water Authority Keithroy Halliday said the prohibition was still being reviewed.
“We are still reviewing it. It is likely to be extended, but we need to await a final decision,” Halliday told Barbados TODAY.
Watering of gardens, lawns or grounds remained banned. There are also restrictions on filling tanks, baths and swimming pools and the washing of roadways, pavements or vehicles is also prohibited.
When he spoke two months ago, Abrahams cautioned that this year the outlook for the Caribbean indicates that the region is being impacted by a weak El Nino phenomenon which has the potential to extend into 2020.
An El Nino year generally has drier weather conditions and this is reflected by a projection of increased chance of drier and hotter conditions from April to October 2019.
The Minister noted that even though Barbados was going into the beginning of the rainy season from June, the rainfall amounts between June and October are expected to be lower than normal as this will be affected by the drier conditions.
He said then: “Barbados is currently experiencing problems in providing adequate water supplies across the island as a result of reduced water levels and rising chloride levels in the coastal supply wells,” indicating the intrusion of seawater to fill the vacuum created by the empty aquifers.
He added: “The drought conditions are likely to result in a compounding of the problems being experienced due to the fact that the aquifer recovery expected from the start of the normal rainy season in June, will be delayed and the wells now experiencing high chloride and falling water levels may continue to do so.”
The prohibition restricts the washing of paths, garages, outrooms or vehicles; and “any purpose that, in the opinion of the Authority, requires the use of a considerable or excessive quantity of water”, the BWA notice said.
The BWA has been forced to issue notices at various times this month to remind customers in parts of St Michael, St James and St Thomas affected by water outages, that repairs were completed or were being done to its equipment or damaged mains.
The public water utility said it will take some time for levels at the Lodge Hill and Cave Hill Reservoirs, which feed the affected areas, to rise. In the interim, the authority’s water tankers will continue to assist residents it said.
Low water levels are also recorded at its Warleigh and Golden Ridge reservoirs, the BWA added. (EJ)